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Choosing the right fireplace for your home

With the cooler weather coming our way it’s time to think about our home heating options…

Here, I’ll be comparing three different types of fireplaces. Which one will suit your situation the best and is it energy efficient, economically viable, environmentally friendly and sustainable?


Bioethanol fireplaces

Our first type of home fireplace is one which uses bioethanol fuel. What is bioethanol?

Bioethanol is produced from renewable plant resources such as corn, sugarcane, sweet sorghum or lignocellulosic biomass.

It is a safe fuel to use at home, especially when compared to gas burning or wood burning fireplaces. Bioethanol burns cleanly and emits no smoke particles and only trace amounts of carbon dioxide that are no threat to the health of your family.

Enjoying an open fire either indoors or outdoors is made easy … no need for a flue or chimney or gas and electricity connections.

The heat output of bioethanol fireplaces is not as great as a gas or wood fire and running costs are also a little higher, however, they are perfect for a small home needing heat for just a few hours a day.


Gas fireplaces

Although gas is a relatively clean fuel, it is important to look into energy efficiency by searching for an appliance with a high star rating. Save on energy costs by researching the best product for you.

Gas fireplaces require a gas connection, electronic ignition and a flue or power balanced flue.

Although gas fireplaces have higher set up costs, the heat output is significantly higher than a bioethanol fire when comparing apples with apples. Be sure to purchase the right size for the space you intend to heat and you will have a powerful primary heat source.

There is a downside to a gas fireplace. Natural gas is not a renewable resource. It takes thousands of years to form and cannot be replaced as fast as it is being consumed.


Wood fireplaces

There’s nothing quite like sitting around a crackling wood fire on a crisp Winters’ night. They definitely have a pleasing aroma and are aesthetically pleasing to watch.

Some benefits of wood fires are that they have high heat output and improved control of temperature due to new technologies. Generally much of the heat was lost to the flue but this has changed.

Although wood is a sustainable resource, it depends on how ethically it has been felled and if damage to the environment is being managed. Wood for fuel is also only sustainable if it is being converted to heat with reasonable efficiency. Always question where your firewood is coming from. Is it coming from sustainably managed forests?

Unfortunately wood fires come with a few downsides … there are safety risks and when compared to gas fires, higher running costs if wood is not readily available.

Wood fires require more regular servicing and clean up maintenance due to the type of material being burned. They produce ash, soot and creosote into the air which is not good for our respiratory health.

Before purchasing a wood fireplace, check that it has been tested and certified to Australian Standards for low emissions.


I hope this information helps you decide what type of fireplace suits your needs.


Remember, be sure to adhere to ventilation, clearance, installation and safety guidelines. All gas appliances must be fitted by a qualified and licensed gas fitter.


Feel free to contact me if you need help moving in the right direction - that’s what I’m here for!


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